With over 25 lakh Aircel subscribers offline, Madras HC requests TRAI and telecom ministry to intervene

Petitioner said that due to the stopping of services, people had to face difficulty in availing welfare and government schemes

The Madras High Court issued notice on 5 March to the telecom ministry and TRAI on a PIL seeking a direction for resumption of mobile provider Aircel's services at the earliest.

Aircel company logo. Reuters.

Aircel company logo. Reuters.

"Over 25 lakh subscribers have been affected by the sudden stoppage of service by the cellular company. This is highly unethical and should have been viewed seriously by the government and TRAI. But so far they have failed to act," the petitioner Saravanakumar submitted.

The petitioner also sought a direction from the court to direct the company to restore mobile portability services, enabling its existing customers to "port their numbers to other network providers".

The first bench of Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose directed the ministry and the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to file their counter by 19 March.

According to the petitioner, he has been a customer of Aircel for over 10 years.

On 21 February, without any prior intimation, mobile services provided by the company came to a standstill across Tamil Nadu, he submitted.

Later, he came to know through a statement that out of 9,000 mobile phone network towers owned by the firm, 6,500 towers could not be operated, due to rental default on part of Aircel, affecting its services in the state.

Due to stopping of services, people had to face difficulty in availing welfare and government schemes, including LPG connections, as the mobile numbers linked with such services were not working, the petitioner submitted.

Claiming that over eight lakh customers had already applied for mobile portability, which could not be completed due to the stopping of mobile services, he wanted a direction to the TRAI to take immediate action to restore them at the earliest.

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